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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World Paperback – January 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fortified with Eeyoreish fatalism—I'm already unhappy. I have nothing to lose—Weiner set out on a yearlong quest to find the world's unheralded happy places. Having worked for years as an NPR foreign correspondent, he'd gone to many obscure spots, but usually to report bad news or terrible tragedies. Now he'd travel to countries like Iceland, Bhutan, Qatar, Holland, Switzerland, Thailand and India to try to figure out why residents tell positive psychology researchers that they're actually quite happy. At his first stop, Rotterdam's World Database of Happiness, Weiner is confronted with a few inconvenient truths. Contrary to expectations, neither greater social equality nor greater cultural diversity is associated with greater happiness. Iceland and Denmark are very homogeneous, but very happy; Qatar is extremely wealthy, but Weiner, at least, found it rather depressing. He wasn't too fond of the Swiss, either, uncomfortable with their quiet satisfaction, tinged with just a trace of smugness. In the end, he realized happiness isn't about economics or geography. Maybe it's not even personal so much as relational. In the end, Weiner's travel tales—eating rotten shark meat in Iceland, smoking hashish in Rotterdam, trying to meditate at an Indian ashram—provide great happiness for his readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
If theres one truth that emerged from reviewers various takes on The Geography of Bliss, its that happiness is subjective. Every critic seemed to find something that really irked him or her about this book: Weiners persona seems affected, he indulges in "psychobabble," he remains aloof about himself, he comes across as an obnoxious reporter. Yet everyone seemed to enjoy his book, admiring Weiners original approach to the subject, his balance of research and experience, and the characters that illustrate the lessons on happiness Weiner accumulates during his journeys. In short, all the critics happiness was alike, but they were also all unhappy in their own way. (Sorry, Tolstoy.) FYI: Weiner lives in Miami, Florida.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Eric, just like in his newer book "Geography of Genius", doesn't offer you a recipe or a framework for his findings. He handholds you and takes you in a journey to discover things on your own. Yes, he tells you what he believes and finds, but you don't necessarily reach the same conclusions. You are free to wonder and come up with your own perspective.
I enjoyed every bit of it!
It's a good, light read, intelligent and witty. It's critics seem to be those that expected him to explore every aspect of every culture he visited and come to profound conclusions. Instead he engages the reader with a breadth of knowledge on the studies of happiness, while making humorous cultural observations, and interviewing a wide scope of humans to get their observations on happiness.